Years ago, I went to a New Year's party where the hostess had everyone write a letter to themselves. Then we sealed the letters in envelopes addressed to our homes. A year later, the hostess mailed them to us.
It was a sweet, strange take on the New Year's resolution: What did you think your future self would need to hear? Praise? A pep talk? A scolding? What did I think I'd have accomplished a year later? And yes, it was an unusual feeling to get a letter from your past self.
I'm going to write a letter to future MaryAnn, and hope that someone forwards this to me in a year. It turns out the most common New Year's resolutions can be applied to wine, too …
I'm not sure you'll remember me (ha). It's a dreary December day—red-wine weather—and we're snuggled at the kitchen table, hammering away at your laptop, with a glass of Australian Shiraz at your hand.
This is what I'm hoping you'll have accomplished in your wine world in the next year.
1. Lose weight. Don't look at me like that. You know perfectly well there are wines in your cellar that you can thin out. Maybe they were gifts, you're being sentimental, or you forgot about them, but they need to go. Gift them. Donate them. Drink them. Turn them into sangria. I don't care, but we need to make room for the new.
2. Save money. We go over this every year, but you really need to admit that even though you have expensive tastes at times, you're also perfectly happy with plenty of wines that cost $25 or less. Remember that as much fun as it is to impress your friends and family with prestigious labels, it's also fun to turn them on to wines they can find and buy themselves.
3. Travel to new places. Sure, we hope to stomp around in more vineyards in 2016, but I mean metaphysically. Broaden your horizons. You hear about wines from places like Moravia in the Czech Republic, Swartland in South Africa and Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. Seek them out. Study them. Keep your mind open.
4. Be less stressed. Remember those special bottles of wine that you're holding on to dearly for who-knows-why-or-what perfect occasion? Don't wait for moments; create them by opening the bottles. Some of your favorite wine-drinking stories have humble beginnings, but it was the wine that made them memorable.
5. Get organized. Yes, back in the cellar, but also in your mind. It's one thing to snap photos on your phone everytime you try a bottle you like, but if you don't go back and take stock of those photos, it will be as if it all happened in a vacuum. Don't be a vacuum drinker. Catalog those wines. Research them. Learn more.
I'm sure you're going to make us proud, and I can't wait to see how much I'll have grown in 2016. In the meantime, I raise this glass to us. Happy New Year!